Showing Gratitude in Your Family

Do you remember when Thanksgiving was just about gathering as family, eating good food, taking a nap, and maybe playing a game of football, or watching one on TV? 

You didn’t even start thinking about Christmas shopping until after all the leftovers were gone. Nowadays, many stores are opening for Black Friday sales on Thanksgiving Day encroaching upon family time. It’s hard to develop gratitude for all the things God has provided and done for us in the previous year when we’re flipping through ads for more stuff that we don’t have.

Yet, showing gratitude is so much more than just saying “thank you.” Grateful people are marked by more than the occasional expression of thanks. They are marked by their hearts, because true gratitude is given from a heart of love. And it’s an attitude we can show all year round not just on Thanksgiving.

So this month we want to encourage you to download FamilyLife’s free eBook, My Family’s Gratitude Plan. This eBook will be your guide to help you develop an attitude of gratitude in your family this holiday season and beyond. Inside you’ll find:

  • A “bucket list” of neat things to do to help you and your family really connect and spend time together.

  • Some great conversation starters to help you discover thankfulness and to draw those around you into meaningful discussions.

  • Several outstanding articles that share different perspectives on the importance of gratitude and giving thanks.

Simply go to to download it for your family.

Speaking of gratitude…let us take a moment to express how we are so grateful for your continued prayer and financial support of our ministry. For the last 9 years you have been a part of God’s provision for our family. And we are so glad to have you be a part of our team.

Thank You!

Spotlight on Mizzou!

I wanted to do something a little different this month for the newsletter and shine the spotlight on some of the other things FamilyLife’s parent organization (Cru) is doing around the world. 

Formerly known as Campus Crusade for Christ, Cru is a huge organization with many ministries that come under it’s oversight. What started as a ministry to students on the UCLA campus, now touches the lives of people in every segment of society and in every corner of the world. I can’t cover everything that Cru does, but from time to time I do want to expose you to other ways God is working through the ministry of Cru.

Nate and Lisa Buxman are friends of ours who are missionaries with Athletes in Action. The ministry of AIA has a presence in 205 campuses across the country, 35 professional sports teams, and 97 countries. Nate and Lisa work on the campus of the University of Missouri building relationships with coaches and college athletes from all over the world in efforts to win them to Jesus, build them in their faith, and teach them how to use their platform to reach others for Christ. 

Here’s an excerpt from one of their recent newsletters that describes the impact they’re making on athlete’s lives:

This is Kendall. When we met last spring, he would tell you that he saw me meeting with Rod in the dining hall with our Bibles open. He walked by, and felt a voice inside saying, “I should do that.” He ignored the voice and kept walking. The next week he saw us and heard the voice again. This time he approached the table and said, “Rod, let me know the next time you do this,” and quickly walked away. The third week, the voice got so loud, he finally sat down and said, “Hi, I’m Kendall, and I want to grow in my faith, but I don’t know how. Can you meet with me, please?

We had lunch the next day and I shared of Jesus’ love, forgiveness and hope of eternal life. Kendall was eager to repent and surrender his life to the Lord. God is doing amazing things in people’s lives.

Take a moment now to praise God for what he’s doing in Kendall’s life and in many other athlete’s lives around the country! Also lift up Nate and Lisa as they reach students on the campus of the University of Missouri.

Looking for 50! Are you one of them?

For 6 years we have been an integral part of the ministry at FamilyLife. Whether it’s through video creation/editing, organizing events, or involved in strategy meetings about what the future looks like we think it’s an exciting time to be a part of the ministry of FamilyLife. 

At the same time, through both increased expenses (3 out of our 6 girls are now teenagers!) and through some lost financial support over the years, we find ourselves needing to rebuild our support team.

As a friend of the ministry, we wanted to let you know that we currently need to identify 50 new monthly financial partners to rebuild our team and be fully funded.

As you can see from the graphic below, God has already provided 30% of the new partners we’re needing. You’ve followed our ministry for a while via our emails or online social posts and know of the impact that FamilyLife is making to transform lives and reach people for Christ.

Would you prayerfully consider joining our team at this time?  

Start your giving online:

 Above is an example of different giving levels for you to consider joining our team.
Above is an example of different giving levels for you to consider joining our team.

“I came with my ex-husband…”

God continues to work in people’s lives through the ministry of FamilyLife. Here’s a couple stories of what God has done:

“This weekend opened up some very old wounds that needed to be opened so God could get in there and heal them. It’s been painful with many tears and much conviction. But instead of it bringing us down, it actually lifts us up. We’ve been married 25 yrs.”


“We came into this weekend being engaged for 4.5 years with no definite plan as to when we would get married. We’re a blended family, so we both have a picture of broken marriages. This getaway saved our relationship. I now recognize mistakes I have made and I’m ready to make a change with God with him at the center. We’re now ready to set a wedding date for this year. Thank you for answering our prayers.”


“My husband and I recently went through infidelity and porn addiction. We strayed away from God and found ourselves lonely and scared. We love each other with all of our hearts and we realized that need God in the center of our lives in order to have the life we are proud of. This Weekend to Remember has helped me to begin the journey with God and allowed us to find one another and remember why we fell in love to begin with.”


“I came with my ex-husband. We divorced due to him having an affair two years ago. But have come in the hopes of beginning a restoration process. I came with fears and doubts about that even being possible. But I’m more hopeful than ever. Our two year old and a baby on the way will grow up with a mom and dad that are together and stronger thanks to this getaway. Thank you.”

Thanks for your prayers for us in this life transforming ministry.

Transforming the NEXT GENERATION

Prior to joining the staff of FamilyLife we were on staff at a church as associate/youth pastors for 9 years. It was there that we saw first-hand the effects that stress in the home can have on today’s young generation. We ministered to kids who came from single parent homes, divorced homes, and teens with a parent in prison. We could see how God was working in these young people’s lives for the hour or so per week when they attended the youth ministry. But we also knew the chaos that was waiting for them the rest of the week when they returned home. We began to feel like the most lasting change could only happen when the whole family was wholeheartedly following Christ.

“We believe that the family is the most untapped resource for the spread of the gospel!”

Then in 2008, Deborah and I attended a FamilyLife marriage getaway. It was there that we heard about FamilyLife’s missions “to effectively develop godly marriages and families who change the world one home at a time.” And we heard about all the different ways they were reaching out to fulfill their vision that “every home [be] a godly home.” We were hooked. This seemed to be exactly where God was leading us to make a larger impact.

Our calling to join FamilyLife has always been about transforming the next generation.

So why are we more excited now to be a part of FamilyLife than ever before?

Because we believe that the family is the most untapped resource for the spread of the gospel! And at FamilyLife we’re now looking to take our timeless, biblical truths and repackage them for a new generation.

Our work on the Digital Team has us right in the middle of the action to “become all things to all people, that by all means we might save some.” (1 Cor. 9:22 ESV) As FamilyLife’s resident videographer, I (Abe) am excited to use my gifts and talents to reach a generation that consumes information visually more now than ever before.

There is a generation of couples, teenagers, and kids who are separated from Christ. We’re excited to partner with Jesus who is able to rescue those lost kids, restore any troubled marriage, and redeem every broken family!

We invite you to join with us in this fight for families.

FamilyLife’s Art of Parenting

If you think parenting is easy…you’re doing it wrong. That’s not to say that there aren’t moments of joy, laughter, and fun cuddles. But from the moment your child comes into the world a little part of your heart is walking around outside your body. And it is exhausting trying to keep them safe, to mold and shape their character, and to guide them in their journey to adulthood.

In the younger years, you try to minimize the boo-boos, the cuts and scrapes that your child can get into physically. But, as they grow, they start to experience pains that can’t be covered by a band-aid. When they were young you were their hero, but around the teen years you suddenly realize you’re not as “cool” in their eyes as you once thought you were.

While there a million choices parents make today…cloth or disposable diapers? Homeschool or public school? What is the right bedtime for a toddler? How much time on screens should I allow them? What’s the right age to give them their own cell phone? Do I make them eat Aunt Susie’s green bean casserole?…yet, the Bible doesn’t have specific answers for all of those questions.

But the Bible does provide guiding principles that will make a parents job much easier through the years. That’s what FamilyLife’s Art of Parenting is all about. We’ve gathered some of the best experts from around the country to give us the big picture of what our role as parents is all about. I don’t know about you, but I know that in the midst of the day to day parenting chaos we call life we need to be reminded of the big picture.

Both Deborah and I have had a significant role in the Art of Parenting Online launch. Deborah was selected to be one of the two online hosts who will guide participants through the video series. And Abe has worked behind the scenes with filming some of the online bonus content, and then also editing the series into it’s online incarnation. We are so excited for parents to finally get experience it on May 1st.

We’re coming to Washington!

Deb and I (and the whole family) will be coming to Washington between April 30th and May 22nd.

We want to watch the movie with you, hear your reactions, give a personal update on our ministry, and invite more people to join in on what God is doing.

We’ll be at Regal Cinemas at the Columbia Mall in Kennewick, WA to view the film on both May 1st and 3rd. Next month we’ll send out details about hosting a dinner gathering before the movie. 

But buy your tickets now before they’re sold out!

FamilyLife’s Biggest Content Launch In Our 42 Year History

Do you remember the first time you held a baby? So small and fragile, so cute and cuddly. And if it was your own child perhaps you tried to soak up the moment so that it would be seared in your memory. You tried to imagine what they would be like as they grew from the babe you are now holding into a toddler, then the elementary years, then the teen years, and finally a young adult. 

As Deb and I have seen our girls become young ladies we can confirm that indeed, “the days are long, but the years are short”. Anna will turn 18 in just six short months from now. 

With that in mind, FamilyLife is launching the biggest content launch in our 42 year history. FamilyLife’s Art of Parenting™ is a video curriculum that can be done individually or as a couple online, or with others in a small group format and it launches on May 1st. And the first step of the launch is FamilyLife’s first full-length feature film, Like Arrows. (I’ll share more about Art of Parenting in a future post.)

Like Arrows will be available in theaters only on May 1st and 3rd. The movie tells the story of one couple’s raw parenting journey from before marriage all the way through their 50th anniversary. 

It’s being shown in 900+ theaters across the country, so there’s probably one near you. But based on preliminary response, we expect many theaters to sell out.  So invite another couple to join you and get your tickets today.

After previewing the movie, one father commented, “I thought I was doing a pretty good job as a father, but I realize now that it’s not enough just to have peace in the house.  I need to start thinking bigger.  This movie has inspired me to get more involved with my kids.  They grow up too fast.”

They grow up fast indeed, and that’s why we are so thankful for your partnership that allows us to be part of this important launch.

Together we’re transforming generations!